Friday Chatting About Change (Both Kinds!)
NICOLE: Hello! And almost goodbye! I miss you already.
ESTER: I miss you already! And the site. When else am I going to be able to muse, “Should I buy a raincoat?” and immediately get fifteen responses, all saying, “BUY A RAINCOAT RIGHT NOW, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE”? It’s so satisfying. Like, oh, there’s a clear answer! OK!
NICOLE: Do you have one picked out? Are you going to order it today?
ESTER: I wouldn’t go that far. But I feel more okay about potentially picking one out. 🙂 Do you have a rain coat? You must, living in Seattle …
NICOLE: I do not. I have a leather coat and a water-resistant hat and an umbrella. Also boots that are sort of water resistant, if you don’t stand in puddles? They’re meant for snow, not rain. But I’ve never gotten soaked or anything.
I need a new coat. I’ve actually needed a new coat for at least three years, but this year I might buy one.
ESTER: Let’s both do it! It can be one of those small ways in which you adjust your lifestyle up to accommodate your newfound success.
NICOLE: We totally should! And it makes sense, in terms of “newfound success,” because one of the reasons I “need” a coat is because the coat I had, which I got at a thrift store, is too large for me. Which is fine for getting the job done, but not fine for … looking successful? Looking like you take care of yourself? Looking like you care about what size your coat is?
ESTER: Ha! Right, exactly. It’s been strange trying to start shopping for a new corporate persona. Not that I’ve been able to, because life keeps intervening, but even thinking about it is has been kind of awkward. At least I’ve been able to remind myself that it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a business wardrobe all set going in; I have enough pieces that I can throw together for the first week or so. But the start up costs of a new job are not insignificant, especially when, like I have, you’ve been out of the corporate world for many years. I’ve had two children since I last worked in a for-profit office! It was the entire Obama presidency ago!
NICOLE: WE STILL GET OBAMA UNTIL NEXT JANUARY. But point made. You probably also can’t get away with that intern or entry-level thing where you wear the same outfit over and over, or create “sort of professional” outfits out of your college clothes and dress pants. Both of us are too old for that now.
ESTER: Exactly. I’m scared they expect me to look like I know how to dress myself like a 34-year-old Manhattanite, and that is a high bar. Will they expect me to wear makeup too? Like, every day? I asked the makeup lady, one of the recent times I was on TV, whether she could write down some of the products she used, because I really liked the results, but one of the products she used on my lips — just one! — costs $35. So … yeah. Maybe makeup in stages too, if it turns out to be necessary.
NICOLE: I bought one of those “trial face in a box” packages for the rare times I wear full-face makeup, those things where they give you little tiny tubes and hope that someday you’ll come back and buy the larger tubes, and I thought that would last me forever. And then I learned that makeup goes bad after three months, and I was like how do people even do this???
ESTER: We have to link to the recent Awl makeup explainer here, because that was hilarious. I identified about equally with Alex Balk and the women trying to define mascara for him.
ALSO: I’m so excited about Megan. As Mike pointed out, she’s the third Me(a)g(h)an to edit the site, and now the name has been spelled in about every possible way.
NICOLE: Which totally throws a wrench into your “J-names equal writing success” theory.
ESTER: Nah, I stand by that. But I think it does lead one to the clear conclusion that, to succeed at the Billfold / Toast, it’s helpful to be named Me(a)g(h)an or Nicole. There are a lot of great Nicoles online just generally.
NICOLE: Awwww shucks. I think I mentioned this before, but when I went to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference I unexpectedly ended up at a table full of Nicoles. I was all “I bet I can guess how old you are within two years.”
ESTER: Heh. Most other Est(h)ers are about 83. It’s cool, I don’t mind. Anymore. Anyway, Megan is awesome and I’m very excited to see what she writes for the site.
NICOLE: Me too! It’ll be fun to have a new financial perspective. Maybe she’ll be able to make us all feel better about spending money on coats and other “frivolous” purchases.
ESTER: I had lunch with her yesterday and she was wearing a cool-looking leather jacket. I was like, oh, a suave editor. That will be a nice change. (Note: she may reject the characterization of her as suave; it was only my impression.)
NICOLE: Meghan Nesmith was totes fashionable too. Remember the time she dressed like Harry Styles and looked amazing?
ESTER: OH YES. I’ll bet she has great coats. Also, Canadian, so. She needs them.
NICOLE: We will have great coats too! We can do this! It will not destroy our carefully curated bank accounts!
ESTER: We will rise to the occasion of our new nation. Which reminds me! Did we ever talk about your seeing Hamilton here? You saw Hamilton!
NICOLE: I did! I am also wearing a Hamilton shirt right now and drinking out of a Hamilton water bottle so…
NICOLE: It was a very good Hamilton. We got to see the new Hamilton alternate, Michael Luwoye. He played the character very differently than Lin-Manuel Miranda; more earnest, more like Jean Valjean (in both personality and vocal style). He and his Hamilton were both aware of the huge responsibilities placed before them. Also, Mandy Gonzalez was an amazing Angelica. Totally worth buying the tickets a year ahead of time.
ESTER: Yay, good! Ben has talked me into going to some immersive theatrical experience with him that involves us dressing up like Victorians and I don’t really understand what it will involve but I hope my new job will have at least one theater nerd that I can talk to about it afterwards.
NICOLE: There’s usually a good overlap between theater nerds and writing nerds, so I’m guessing it will.
ESTER: One can only hope. Also, I hope you keep having conversations about Gaby Dunn’s podcast here, because after each episode I find there’s so much I want to discuss. Like the one a couple weeks ago where she was amazed and grateful that her bank offered her interest in on her account. Her response was, “You’re going to give me money? Wow, thanks!”
NICOLE: And she didn’t immediately complain about how it wasn’t all that much interest, which would have been my response.
ESTER: Right! It was basically nothing! I wanted to reach through the headphones and shake her by the shoulders and say, Gaby, you’re giving them your money to play around with. They should be grateful to you, not the other way around. And in response, they’re giving you pennies a year in interest. Pennies!
NICOLE: But if you let those pennies compound… (says every other finance site ever).
ESTER: Ha, right. Which is why I really appreciated your sarcastic coffee post. Thank you for that. Just think what those pennies can buy you: maybe one-quarter of your monthly outlay for health insurance!!!
NICOLE: That is the kind of content people come to The Billfold to read: the hard-hitting truth about money.
ESTER: I mean, pennies are great! Put them in your change jar, by all means! We’re not anti-penny. Just, don’t think they mean your bank isn’t totally taking advantage of you. (Also: consider credit unions?)
NICOLE: Always consider credit unions.
ESTER: Any other last thoughts?
NICOLE: They’d be your last thoughts, not mine!
ESTER: Gak, that’s right! OK, one last thought I didn’t get to write a post about: are hedge funds over?
NICOLE: I don’t know!
ESTER: It’s a new world, Nicole. A new world. See you on the other side!
NICOLE: May you have an amazing time.
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